Lysefjord Norway is located around 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of the city of Stavanger within Forsand municipality, part of Rogaland county, in the south west of this incredibly beautiful country.
The name Lysefjord translates to ‘light fjord’, and this name is understood to have come about due to the lightly colored granite rocks that exist along all sides. Carved by glaciers dating back to the Ice Age, it is the southernmost of the biggest fjords in Norway.
During my stay in Stavanger to attend a reunion of my fiancé’s family, I couldn’t believe our luck to be so close to one of the most famous fjords in Norway. It was just a great opportunity to explore Lysefjord by taking a cruise up this beautiful waterway.
In terms of its size, Wikipedia describes Lysefjord as follows:
‘End to end, it measures 42 kilometres (26 mi) with rocky walls falling nearly vertically over 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) into the water. Not only is the fjord long and narrow, it is in places as deep as the mountains are high. Starting at a depth of only 13 metres (43 ft) deep where it meets the sea near Forsand village, the Lysefjord then heads inland and drops to a depth of over 400 metres (1,300 ft) below the Preikestolen.’
My fiancé James and I joined his older brother Peter together with his lovely wife Maud and their daughters Suzanne and Janine (who were attending the family reunion from the Netherlands). Together we made our way to enjoy a Rodne Fjord Cruises trip, on board the ‘Rygerdronningen’.
Like all the other days we spent in Norway, it was a beautiful sunny day on a Sunday in May 2019 when we arrived at Stavanger harbor area to board this modern catamaran. We were also lucky that there was plenty of space for observing the sites and there were not that many passengers on this particular trip.
Heading toward the Fjord
Starting on our way out of Stavanger was a picturesque experience to begin with. This city is attractive enough on land but sailing out seeing all the lovely colored buildings against the water gave a whole new dimension.
The water throughout this trip was so clean and it is clear that the Norwegians take looking after their natural environment very seriously. Given the growing number of tourists to this beautiful region, the way that everything is kept so pristine is extremely impressive.
As we undertook this journey, we spent most of the time out on the open (top) deck of the vessel to get clear and unobstructed views of the majestic fjord, the waterways and flora/fauna.
Leaving Stavanger, we pass by some lovely rocky islands and see a number of colorful wooden houses. Many of these are ‘summer houses’ for Norwegians who holiday here during the warmer months and you can plainly see they all enjoy spectacular views over the water.
Oanes is a small farming village located at the intersection between the Lysefjorden and Høgsfjorden. The cruise made a short stop here before continuing on its journey to enter Lysefjord.
From the deck, you can see some motorhomes parked along the waterfront where holiday makers have made their way along the tourist trail to enjoy this magical vista. What a gorgeous village this is and with our experience of how friendly the Norwegian people are, we could only imagine how fabulous it would be to stay for a while there.
Due to the inhospitable mountainous terrain of this region, there are not many people that actually live along the Lysefjord. Hence there is just one bridge that exists which you pass under as you travel through the fjord.
The Lysefjord Bridge is a 640m suspension bridge with a main span of 446m over the fjord. It was opened in 1997. The height from the fjord to the span is 50 meters and the towers are 107 meters high. It is really pretty to look at and fits right into the magnificent scenery here.
Gliding through the calm water provided simply amazing perspective of how massive the rock faces are in a region that mostly remains completely untouched by human settlement. This is nature at its most natural, carved out all the way back to the time of the ice age.
Travelling through the fjord, one of the natural attractions we enjoyed getting up close to is Fantahålå (or “vagabond’s cave”). This is a small mountain cave named after a group of vagabonds who sought shelter there on the run from the local police.
This a gorgeous cove where dramatic cliffs surround an aqua-marine pool together with one of many impressive waterfalls you will find throughout the fjord.
The captain of the sizeable catamaran carefully maneuvered the vessel into the cove before backing away again to ensure there was no collision against the land.
Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock
This incredible natural feature is billed as one of the main highlights of the cruise. This world famous rock cliff rises 604 metres above Lysefjord and is one of the most popular hikes you can do in Norway.
Check out the photos we took looking up at this amazing natural wonder.
James and I were also lucky enough to be taken on a hike here by family members who actually live in Stavanger some days earlier. From the top there were also a couple of photos taken of Lysefjord looking back down.
To see and learn more about this serious hike to this amazing place, take a look at an earlier post published on Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock.
There is only one of the earth’s creatures that negotiate the steep cliff sides and granite formations surrounding you here. Mountain goats roam here in the summer and are sturdy enough to scale the sides of Lysefjord. They aren’t always around and visitors are considered lucky enough to spot some on their cruise.
On this cruise we were indeed lucky and snapped a couple of photos of a pair that made their way along various edges as we passed by.
Back to Stavanger
After spending sometime exploring this fabulous fjord, we eventually turned around and headed back to the harbor at Stavanger.
It had been a wonderful, calm and enjoyable trip spent in lovely company.
If you likewise enjoy seeing unfettered nature on a grand scale, then I would really recommend you seriously consider visiting Norway to see the spectacular Fjords such as Lysefjord and Geirangerfjord. I’m sure you would just love the experience.